Prebuilt Vs. Custom PC: How to Choose Which is Best for You

Prebuilt Vs. Custom PC: How to Choose Which is Best for You

So, you've decided to get a gaming PC. While some of the most glorious high-framerate visual experiences you've ever seen lie ahead, you probably need clarification about whether to build a custom gaming PC yourself or leave it to the professionals and get a pre-built gaming computer. Here's a complete comparison between pre-built vs. custom PCs.

Depending on whether you buy a pre-built vs. build a custom computer, there are many pros and cons. Everything from the initial cost to setup, maintenance, and troubleshooting process should have a certain ease of access for the end user, and some things become preferences over others. 

To give you a better idea of who should get pre-built and who should go for a custom PC, here's a complete explanation of all the significant comparisons between the two. 

Pre-Built vs. Custom Gaming PCs

Here are our main categories for determining the best route for buying a pre-built vs. going custom-built.

PC Performance

Firstly, let's talk about performance since that's likely what you're most concerned with. If you only care about framerate, there is almost no difference between a pre-built and a custom PC you build yourself. If the components, like the CPU, are the same, you'll get the same FPS regardless of whether it's a pre-built or custom-built PC. 

However, framerate is one of many factors gamers care about. Airflow is another crucial aspect you should consider. If your PC has suboptimal airflow, it will have a tough time cooling all the components, resulting in higher noise levels affecting your overall gameplay experience. 

Also, PC components running at high temperatures can run into performance drops in framerate, ranging from barely noticeable to unplayable, depending on the severity of the heating issue. Even if the frame rate is the same, the 1% lows can dip much lower in PCs that aren't adequately cooled, resulting in a worse gaming experience.

The benefit of going with a prebuilt gaming PC is that the parts they use are meticulously picked based on optimal performance, which includes airflow considerations. The average PC gamer needs the tools or equipment to decide which parts provide optimal airflow when paired together.

Cost Differences

Custom PC builds cost more since you have to pay a premium on all the separate components you purchase. You can grab pre-built PCs at a decent discount compared to the price of all the parts if bought individually. Plus, shipping fees can add up to a significant amount, especially if you buy different components from different retailers.

Hardware Customization

Hardware customization is one area where pre-built PCs are at a disadvantage. With custom-built PCs, hardware customization options are practically endless. For instance, you can select any CPU on the market if it's compatible with your motherboard. 

On the flip side, while prebuilt gaming PCs offer hardware customizability options, they are limited to a certain extent.  Most system integrators will stock a certain manufacturer's products to facilitate larger hardware orders and better prices, passing those savings on to the customer.   

Visuals & Aesthetics

Regarding visuals and aesthetics, you can get your hands on some of the best-looking gaming PCs regardless of whether you pick up a pre-built unit or build a custom PC yourself. However, businesses that offer pre-built machines are better at judging what parts complement each other in terms of looks, thanks to their experience. 

Plus, beginners will likely need more time to get cable management right, which is a massive component affecting your PC's aesthetics. In other words, there is a high probability that custom PCs come out looking a bit off. Fortunately, that's not something you need to worry about with pre-built PCs.

Hardware Upgradability

Hardware upgradability is acceptable with almost any type of desktop PC. You don't need fancy equipment or tools to upgrade to a new graphic card or processor as long as your motherboard supports it and your PC case has enough clearances. However, remember that some pre-built units are tricky to take apart, making the swap more time-consuming. 

System Quality

While system quality is another aspect you shouldn't worry about, whether you get a prebuild or a custom PC, it's better to have a professional handle critical and expensive components since it's much more likely for a beginner PC builder to make mistakes and compromise the overall quality of the build.

Professional PC builders, on the other hand, have years of experience. They know how to install all the components properly without leaving room for errors. Check out the Apex Kryptonite pre-built if you're looking for a gaming PC with zero compromise on quality.

Time to Build

If you spend time learning about PC parts, you can build a gaming rig optimized in all ways, including airflow, bottleneck minimization, aesthetics, and quality. However, you'd have to spend days, even weeks, learning to balance all that. 

The time you save by going for a pre-built instead of doing everything yourself is a huge advantage. If you don't want to waste time searching for parts and need a PC instantly to start using it, the pre-built route is for you.

Software Considerations

Another major benefit of opting for pre-built PCs is you don't have to get separate licenses of all the necessary software you might need to use. That's because, unlike custom PC builds, pre-built systems come bundled with essential software like Windows.

Hardware Support

Like upgradability, hardware support is relatively easy, regardless of whether you go the pre-built route or build your own computer. If two PCs have the same motherboards, they'll be compatible with the same types of CPUs and RAM, whether it's a pre-built unit or a custom PC. 

Warranty Options

If all of them are new, all the parts in a custom PC build have warranties of over one year. However, getting a warranty claim when an issue arises can be a nightmare. In the case of a pre-built PC, you only have to contact one place, regardless of which component in your PC has an issue. 

Plus, businesses offering pre-built PCs have a much more helpful customer support service that helps make getting a warranty claim easier. To go one step further for gamers, all PCs at  Apex Gaming PCs come with a lifetime labor warranty.

Summary of Differences Between a Pre-Built & Custom Gaming PC

The only aspects where going for a custom gaming PC would have an advantage would be hardware customization and personalized aesthetics. However,  pre-built PCs offer great value, premium system quality, exponentially lower time to build, superior airflow, one-stop software solutions, and much better after-sales support. 

The hardware support and hardware upgradability between pre-built PCs and custom builds are the same. All factors suggest you're better off going for a pre-built gaming PC. 

At Apex Gaming PCs, we encourage research and further configuration with any of our systems on our site. With the ability to change most options like CPUs, GPUs, coolers, motherboards, and even cases on all products, there is no better playground for building the PC you want with us. However, building your own PC is a journey, and if you want to experience that process, more power to you.


Written By Dani K
Edited By Will Wilson 

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